A bad day, here, in the North, The Vet never actually mentioned cancer but with her every cautious, bet-hedging phrase,the realisation of it slowly squeezed my heart until I asked her.
I had thought, jauntily, that it was a dental problem, an abcess, a shot of antibiotics and we'd be on our way, me and my little warm brown friend; instead, tomorrow, under general anaesthetic the sharp knives will remove the horrid growth and send it for examination, these things are normally malignant, so I guess it will just be a formality, nothing on which to pin hopes, no straw to clutch, no desperate barrel to scrape. Little Buster has cancer of the mouth and who knows where else. Before the operation I'll talk to the Vet firmly, once I've figured out what it is I need to be firm about. I don't think I want half of his jaw removed to no lasting purpose, I don't think he does either.
He loves his life so - his places, his things, his dinners, his journeys and his people - that it seems impossible that Kindness lies in ending it, but it may do.
The women wail and look to me for magic, at least for comfort and explanation, when it is I, Knower of Sorrow, skilled Accompaniast to Grief, Blacksmith to Cruel Reason, who is torn apart.
Buster knows nothing of this, the foulness does not trouble him yet, he snuggles down, he eats and runs his ancient run, unaware that we who love him consider his extinction.
This time tomorrow, things will be clearer and maybe, with Grace, we can plan for a parting less awful, one more in his interests than in ours, Across the Seas of Night, to the bright Shores of Morning.